Using new skills to make a professional pivot

Dan Peake started pursuing his master’s degree at a busy time in his life. He was newly married and had recently begun a job as a technical analyst at General Motors.

But he always knew he wanted to earn another degree – specifically one that focused on communication.

“Where I am right now in my career is not exactly where I want to end my career,” he said. “I knew I kind of wanted to pivot over to a marketing/communications type of role.

“But the experience I had – the education I had – wasn’t necessarily conducive to that. So, I knew I needed to take a next step.”

Enter the MSU Strategic Communication Online M.A. Program.

“The online format was really enticing to me,” Peake said. “I needed to make sure I could handle taking on another responsibility… and that online format had a sense of flexibility.”

After looking at the course descriptions, he decided MSU StratCom would be able to help his career move forward – and he was right.

Utilizing skills he learned in CAS 832, Strategic Message Development, he created a newsletter for a work organization. As such, he gained attention from communications and marketing individuals within GM. That led to multiple interviews within the department.

In addition to professional skills, Peake said he’s gained a sense of community among his classmates.

“We’re all professionals aspiring for higher levels in our career development and so that camaraderie and that unity is something that, honestly, is one of the best parts of being part of the program.”

Peake graduated in May with his MSU StratCom degree, and the future holds a lot of possibilities.

As for advice he’d give himself upon starting the program? It could be summed up in one word: retention.

“Retention is key,” he said. “This stuff is really important…Make sure you’re capitalizing on everything you’re learning because this is gold.

I’m going to need this later on in my career.”

*Update: Peake has since landed a new role at GM that focuses more on marketing and communication. He credits earning his strategic communication master's degree from MSU as a "turning point" in his career. Read more.

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